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TV chef helps Hull teacher to launch lockdown inspired learning initiative

Embargoed until midnight on 13thJune 2021


Celebrity chef helps Hull teacher to launch lockdown inspired learning initiative



A famous chef and a leading symbol software company have collaborated to bring a Hull teacher's cookery initiative for pupils with learning difficulties to fruition.


With the permission of publishers, Bloomsbury Absolute, designers at Widgit Software symbolised recipes from Tom Kerridge's best-selling cookery book, Lose Weight and Get Fitfor pupils at Ganton School and the wider community.


Sixth form teacher, Asa Hancock, had the idea of symbolising recipes during the first lockdown: "During the unprecedented lockdowns of the last 15 months, I was struck by the lack of symbol supported recipes for people with learning difficulties.


"Many of Ganton's students are inspired by the nation's favourite chefs like Tom Kerridge, Jamie Oliver and the Hairy Bikers. They come alive when we watch these brilliant chefs on T.V. and work hard to reproduce their food in our onsite kitchen but find it difficult without symbols.


"I approached Tom Kerridge and Bloomsbury Absolute for permission to use the recipes and Widgit to design the symbolised recipes and am delighted that both parties were able to support the initiative.


"We are incredibly grateful for their support and excited to be able to release a number of Tom'sLose Weight and Get Fitrecipes in a symbol supported format in time for Learning Disability Week that starts on 14thJune.I hope that people will download the recipes and enjoy using them to get cooking together."


Widgit designed symbolised recipes free of charge to help Ganton's students and other pupils with learning difficulties.Symbol and Accessible Information Designer, Tom Jelley incorporated simplified instructions and symbols into well-designed documents that can be accessed by the students with some adult supervision. Tom talked about why he was so pleased to be involved: "Widgit has always striven to support those who find access to text difficult, so we were delighted to be a part of Asa Hancock's project that provides access to healthy eating and cooking for students at Ganton."


"Asa first approached us with a request to produce a set of symbolised healthy recipes for his students to follow and cook whilst they were at home during lockdown. We are delighted to have worked with him and Bloomsbury to symbolise a series of Tom Kerridge's recipes. 


"We believe that good design and access to text are not mutually exclusive and the opportunity to demonstrate this utilising Tom Kerridge's recipes has been a pleasure." 


The symbolised recipes will be published on Ganton School's, Widgit's and Mencap's websitesfrom 14thJune and include Chicken Traybake, Peri-Peri Chicken and Spicy Mexican Bean Burger.


Hancock's initiative has the backing of the UK's leading learning disability charity, Mencap.

Jackie O'Sullivan, Director of communication, advocacy and activism said: "This initiative is brilliant and will enable more people with a learning disability to cook. It would be fantastic to see some of the celebrity chefs getting on board so that they can make their delicious food accessible to everyone. It's not just people with a learning disability who will benefit - these symbols make following a recipe much easier. We are right behind Asa and his talented students at Ganton."

"According to a report by NHS Digital, in 2018 only 6% of adults with a learning disability were known to be in work. Teaching the students cookery skills will help them to develop independent living skills and will enhance their employment chances, so we're indebted to everyone who has given their support to this groundbreaking project," Hancock concludes.


Ganton School is home to 169 students from four to 19 years.It is a thriving and inclusive community that is committed to excellence in personalised learning and well-being.


Widgit Symbols are used worldwide to support people and help them realise their full 

potential, no matter what their age, ability or background.


The recipes are available for people to download on the following websites,,




Photograph captions:

  1. Asa Hancock pictured with students and a symbolised recipe Asa Hancock with Ganton students
  2. Students reviewing a symbolised recipe Asa Hancock and students reviewing recipe
  3. Chicken Traybake symbolised recipe Chicken traybake recipe with Widgit symbols


For more information or to arrange an interview with Asa Hancock, please contact Tracey Baty at three60 marketing on:


Direct line:01430 871360

Mobile:07971 961574



Notes to editors


  1. Widgit Symbolsandsoftwareproductsareusedinawiderangeoflocations,includingthousandsofschools,healthcaresettingsandhomes. AttheheartofthecompanyaretheWidgitSymbols,abankofover19,000imagesspecificallydesignedtosupportwrittentext.Translatedintomanylanguages,the  Symbolsareusedworldwidetohelppeopleofallages,abilitiesandbackgroundswhohavedifficultywithtextorcommunication.


About Mencap:


There are 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK.Mencapworks to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities.Mencapsupports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they      


For advice and information about learning disability andMencapservices in your area, contactMencap's Learning Disability Helplineon 0808 808 1111 (10 am-3 pm, Monday-Friday) or      


What is a learning disability?   


  • A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability that can cause problems with everyday tasks - for example, shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places - which affects someone for their whole life.    


  • Learning disability isNOTa mental illness or a learning difficulty, such as dyslexia. Very often the termlearning difficulty'is wrongly used interchangeably withlearning disability'.


  • People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different for every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.